(NEW YORK) — Game wardens from Maine to Pennsylvania issued a Code Red warning today in advance of possible unrest among wild coyotes in the wake of the mysterious death-in-captivity of Hal, a coyote (caninus roaminus impetuous) captured recently by New York City police.

Held in isolation from other coyotes at a now-infamous Department of Environmental Conservation detention facility in Putnam County, Hal died with his legs “restrained” and his snout “muzzled like a dog” as Cornell University researchers attempted to “tag” him before his release.

The New York Times has filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the government hand over images that might show evidence of humiliation and discomfort, if not outright abuse.

Authorities refused the Times’ initial request to release the photos, “out of respect for the family of the deceased,” officials said.

“Even though we did everything according to protocol,” said an unnamed conservation agent, “we’re concerned about the reaction on the so-called ‘coyote street’ if they should see one of their own bound and gagged and about to be tagged.”

In coyote culture, being restrained or caged is considered degrading and humiliating, and the ‘Law of the Pack’ mandates death for the perpetrators.

Ingrid Newkirk, founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has offered to pay for an attorney to file a lawsuit on behalf of the family.

“Hal was guilty of nothing more than loping-while-canine in Central Park,” Ms. Newkirk said, “but his captors and killers are guilty of invading and occupying land that belonged to Hal’s ancestors for thousands of years.”” — Scott Ott / ScrappleFace